Auburn University
Auburn University
Auburn University
Prospective Students Students Alumni Faculty & Staff
Submit A News Article



January 28, 2009

Here's a look at news from the College of Agriculture:

* Federal grant to fund diversity recruiting
* Coming soon: a new-fangled Ag Hill Update
* Liu recognized for key role in aquaculture genome project
* Meet and greet the cyber way
* Ticket time for Hall of Honor ceremonies
* Hartarska a visiting faculty member at Belgium universities
* Career Fair a golden opportunity to network
* Counselor to offer resume, cover letter advice
* When you're smiling . . .
* New Web site keeps you in the know
* Swiss study tour has room for two


Federal grant to fund diversity recruiting
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the AU College of Ag a $96,000 Multicultural Scholars Program grant that will be used to recruit four qualified minority students interested in pursuing pre-veterinary undergraduate degrees to the college by offering to cover their full tuition and related educational costs for four years. Animal sciences professor and student development director Donald Mulvaney, poultry science associate professor Omar Oyarzabal, fisheries associate professor Yolanda Brady and student services coordinator Deborah Solie submitted the grant proposal and are the principal investigators. Other faculty members who will be involved in the recruiting and mentoring processes include animal sciences professor Tom McCaskey, ag econ and rural sociology professor and department head Curtis Jolly, horticulture professor James Brown and poultry science assistant professor Yewande Fasina. The goals of the USDA's competitive Multicultural Scholars Program are to enhance the multicultural diversity of the scientific and professional workforce in the fields of food and agricultural sciences and to advance the educational achievements of all Americans.

Coming soon: a new-fangled Ag Hill Update
Ag Hill Update as you know it is about to change. In a matter of weeks, or possibly days, we're launching an online format that you can access any time for the latest faculty, staff and student news and announcements. The online Ag Hill Update will replace the Ag Hill Update e-mails that have been coming to you every other Wednesday. For a sneak preview of the new format, click on the Ag Hill Update button on the College of Ag's home page,, or go straight to it at We'll still send occasional e-mails as reminders to check the site often or to notify you that time-sensitive news has been posted. Soon, you'll even have the opportunity to sign up for RSS news feeds from Ag Hill. With the new format, you can submit items to the Ag Hill Update editors directly from the Ag Hill Update Web site, or you still can send them the “old-fashioned” way, via e-mail to This exciting Web site is actually part of a new SharePoint software program that you’ll be hearing more about in the not-too-distant future and that is expected to make communicating and collaborating via the Web infinitely easier. So stay tuned for more on SharePoint.

Liu recognized for key role in aquaculture genome project
The USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service has recognized John Liu for his contributions to and participation in the National Animal Genome Research Program and his dedicated service as coordinator of the program's Aquaculture Genome Committee. Liu is the associate dean of research for the college and assistant director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, a fisheries and allied aquaculture alumni professor and one of the world's leading fish geneticists. He was appointed as the Aquaculture Genome Project's first coordinator when it became part of the National Animal Genome Project in 2003, and, in 2008, was reappointed to a second five-year term. Prior to 2003 and aquaculture's affiliation with the national animal genome project, he had served for five years as coordinator of a regional catfish genome project. The project includes catfish, salmonids, tilapia, striped bass, shrimp and oysters. Liu predicts that, after years of intensive research, the whole genome sequencing of catfish will be completed within the next two years, if funding requests are successful.

Meet and greet the cyber way
Budget cuts are affecting everyone this year, and among the first things to take a hit is the travel budgets for meetings.  But, thanks to cyberspace, that doesn’t mean your professional development, professional networking and educational opportunities have to go. Rusty Presley, IT specialist in the ACESAG Office of Information Technology, says ACES, the College of Ag and the AAES have the technology that lets you to communicate/collaborate/deliver programs online. And these resources aren't limited to just work-related use; anyone, anywhere, who has a broadband Internet connection can access them free of charge—no connection fees, no per-minute charges. Check out the resources available to you at, or get in touch with Presley at 844-9660 or

Ticket time for Hall of Honor ceremonies
The 2009 AU Agricultural Alumni Association Annual Meeting and Hall of Honor Banquet is fast approaching—Feb. 24, to be exact—and now is the time to buy your tickets to the event that will honor five of Alabama’s finest agriculturalists— including one of our very own. College of Ag Dean and AAES Director Richard L. Guthrie will be inducted into the Hall of Honor, as will Wyett Holt (Chuck) Speir Jr. of Daphne and Ronnie B. Holladay of Trickem. Also at the banquet, Pioneer Awards, which are given posthumously to agriculturalists who made major contributions to Alabama agriculture, will be presented to the families of the late Samuel H. Booker and the late Ralph W. Martin. On Feb. 24, the Ag Alumni Association will hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the board of directors meeting at 1:30 p.m. in 109 Comer Hall. Registration for the Hall of Honor Banquet will begin at 5:30 p.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, followed by the banquet at 6:30. Tickets are $50 per person, and the deadline for ordering is Feb. 10. To order, contact Elaine Rollo at 844-3204 or

Hartarska a visiting faculty member at Belgium universities
Valentina Hartarska, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, has been appointed as a visiting faculty member for 2008-2009 with the School of Economics and Management at the University Mons-Hainaut, Belgium, and as a faculty member with the Center for European Research in Microfinance at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium. During fall semester, Hartarska traveled to Brussels to teach in the European Master in Microfinance program. She'll return to Belgium later this semester, this time to teach Ph.D. seminars to doctoral students in the management program. At the Free University of Brussels, she is collaborating with faculty on various research projects as well as serving as a major professor and a member of graduate student committees.

Career Fair a golden opportunity to network
DOW AgroSciences, Walt Disney World, Wayne Farms and First South Farm Credit are but a few of the companies that will have representatives in Auburn Monday, Feb. 9, for the College of Ag Career Fair. The fair is a great opportunity for students to network with professionals, learn more about specific employers, hear forecasts of the demand in their fields, line up on-campus interviews and/or land internships or even full-time jobs. The Career Fair will be 1 to 6 p.m. at the Ag Pavilion. For a complete list of the participating companies and organizations, go to and click on Ag Career Fair. Questions? Contact Deborah Solie in student services at or 844-4768.

Counselor to offer resume, cover letter advice
College of Ag students who could use a bit of guidance and assistance in choosing a major, developing a personal career plan, learning job-search skills or finding employment can find the help they're looking for Tuesday, Feb. 3, between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. in the lobby of Comer Hall. That's where Phyllis Bickers, a career counselor with AU's Career Development Services, will be available to assist ag majors with resumes and cover letters and to help freshmen and sophomores explore the job opportunities in their chosen fields of study. She'll also have plenty of Career Development Services handbooks and other information for students to take home. If you miss her on Feb. 3, never fear, because she'll be back the first Tuesday in March and in April. For more information, contact student services coordinator Deborah Solie at

When you're smiling . . .
We don't know for sure whether he's reveling in a rubdown, or crooning "Born Free," or boasting about his star status on the AU equestrian team, but we do know for sure that Dolby can show off those (only in his dreams) pearly whites. Zach Benson, a graduating senior in ag communications and top-notch intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing, took this week's PictureThis! photo (see it at earlier this month at the AU equine center on Wire Road as animal sciences/pre-vet sophomore Jessica Chapman doted on Dolby. Dolby—full name Dolby Surround Sound—is a much-loved 12-year-old quarterhorse gelding and excels in the equestrian team's Western riding competition.

New Web page helps keep you in the know
The College of Agriculture is joining the social networking world with a new media page you can find by going to and clicking on the Media button. The site features links to the college’s new Facebook page, the student services blog, a couple of College of Ag videos and Auburn's YouTube channel. Check it out.

Swiss study tour has room for two
Last call for College of Ag undergraduates to get in on the Office of International Agriculture's spring break study tour to Switzerland. Joe Molnar, OIA coordinator, says there's room for two more students, but they'd better act fast because the absolute signup deadline is noon Friday, Jan. 30. The itinerary for the 10-day tour, which you'll find online at, will give participants a firsthand look at the country's animal and plant agricultural research and production systems, particularly in the areas of dairy and organic farming. And, of course, students will have time to sightsee in Zurich and the Swiss countryside. The estimated cost for the trip is $2,500. To learn more about the tour or how to sign up for it, contact Molnar at 844-5615 or now, or it will be too late.

Ag Hill Update is a service of the AU College of Agriculture's Office of Communications and Marketing and is distributed bi-weekly to faculty, staff and students. To read archived copies visit

TO SUBMIT INFORMATION for possible inclusion in future issues of Ag Hill Update, go to

Questions? Contact Jamie Creamer at 844-2783 or

To view the College of Ag's Web Calendar of Events, go to

Posting of events or news items in Ag Hill Update does not necessarily signify or imply endorsement by Auburn University or the College of Agriculture.